In loving memory of Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)
His legacy will be eternal.
- 1 ‘The Shining’ – My Thoughts
- 2 The Shining Story
- 3 The Shining by Stephen King – the Book
- 4 The Shining Frightful Facts
- 5 The Shining Movie versus the Miniseries
- 6 The Shining – Fan Talk
- 7 The Shining Movie Details
- 8 the Shining Cast (in credits order)
‘The Shining’ – My Thoughts
Let me begin by saying, “I am not an avid reader”. I wish I was, but it just doesn’t hold my interest for long enough. I want to know what happens in a story relatively quickly (between 1 1/2 to 2 hours) and with my lack of reading aptitude, a good book might take me six to seven weeks to reading. Not because I am a slow reader, but rather due to a lack of time dedicated to such an endeavor. It’s a shame too because horror literature is probably the last scarcity vestige for originality in the genre. I just wanted to reference this page with that statement, because I know that I will be getting a ton of emails from King fans asking my opinion on the book. This not to say that “we” at the House of Horrors want to neglect this macabre masterpiece by Stephen King. Oh no, in fact in these pages, we will provide a comparison between the film and the most recent TV miniseries and the Mistress of the Tomes give her review of the novel. Aren’t we thorough?!?!
So this page will be dedicated solely to one of the greatest horror films of all-time. I can sum up my love for the “The Shining” with two names: Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick. So let’s examine each and see why they, and not so much Stephen King, are directly responsible for the effectiveness of this film.
Let’s first look at Jack Nicholson. He is one of my all-time favorite actors. His career has been marked by many masterful performances in films such as, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Easy Rider”, “Chinatown”, “A Few Good Men”, and the most recent Oscar-winning “As Good as it Gets”. In fact, some of Jack’s early work was in teaming with Roger Corman on films like, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “The Terror”, and “The Raven”. Nicholson was even up for the part of “Father Karras” in the “Exorcist” before Jason Miller took the role. So we should all consider ourselves lucky that we, as defenders of the ultimate genre…horror, have been graced with Jack’s support. This culminated with his chilling performance as “Jack Torrance” in “The Shining”. It’s too bad that since his success with “The Shining”, Jack has been less akin to appear in genre films. “Witches of Eastwick” was a great film, but I don’t know if I would consider it horror, and I see “Wolf” as being sacrilegious to the whole werewolf genre.
Now let’s examine Jack’s stunning performance in “The Shining”. Jack Nicholson was, is, and always will be “The Shining” to me. Stephen King, along with a few others, has said that Nicholson’s portrayal of “Jack Torrance” was “over-the-top”. That Nicholson’s presence took away from the main character of the story, the Hotel. I only have one word for these people….bullshit. Without Jack, “The Shining” would be just another haunted house film. Nicholson’s depiction of a man teetering on the brink of insanity was brilliant. We watch in terror as the madness slowly settles in and exploding fiercely into this man, transforming him from one who is trying repair his fragile family life into a stark raving lunatic bent on destroying everything he loves. It is truly a magical movie experience.
Second, is the direction of Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick has directed some of the greatest films in the history of cinema. Films like “A Clockwork Orange”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Spartacus” and “Full Metal Jacket”, all of which are masterpieces in their own way. It is amazing to think that Kubrick, although nominated for 13 Oscars, has only won one for “Best Effects, Special Visual Effects” for “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In retrospect, “2001: A Space Odyssey” helped to set the standard for “Star Wars”.
“The Shining” is definitely a Kubrick film, so much so that it carries the title “Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining”. His signature techniques helped craft “The Shining” it into the classic it is today. His use of a Steadicam, lighting, plus his flair for intermixing ghastly visual flashbacks propelled the effectiveness of this film. Although it has been said that Kubrick can be difficult to work with, his perfectionism is evident in the final product. With “The Shining” he succeeds on all levels and delivers a film that warrants it’s placement in the House of Horrors’ Vault.
But before I move on, let me say that since I haven’t mentioned the importance of Stephen King to this film doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize his contribution. “The Shining” would never have been made if it weren’t for the creative mind of Stephen King. The film’s plot is directly rooted in the framework of the novel, but Kubrick had to tailor it into a management sequence of shots that could be executed efficiently within the limitations of the day. The film itself is 144 minutes (146 when it was originally released) and although lengthy, especially for a horror film, is never boring. Not many of King’s books have been adapted in a more effective movie than “The Shining”.
As always please e-mail me if you have anything you can add to this page, or if you have any comments, criticisms or suggestion.
The Shining Story
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a beleaguered writer and recovering alcoholic, has just secured a seasonal position as the caretaker for the Overlook Hotel. Seems like a cake job. You get to spend all winter snowed (cooped up) in a big hotel with all the food, space, and fun you can enjoy. No guests to fool with (yeah right) and just a little upkeep of the grounds and building. There will be plenty of time to work on your book and of course, slaughter your family.
So along with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their boy Danny (Danny Lloyd), the Torrances head off to enjoy a little family bonding at the old Overlook Hotel. Oh…I forget to mention that Danny is bringing along his imaginary friend
Tony, the little boy who lives in the back of his mouth and helps him to see things that aren’t supposed to be there. “The Shining” allows Danny to see the past, present, and future digressions of the Overlook. Its haunting existence becomes quite evident as he witnesses the death and destruction that has come to call this place home. An evil that is looking to add three new guest…permanently. REDRUM REDRUM!!!!!
Slowly this evil begins to wear down Jack’s defenses as the winter snowfalls driving him to the brink of insanity. It is so easy to hit a man when he is down as Jack is re-introduced to an old, dear friend….. booze. When Wendy stumbles upon Jack’s next bestseller, “All work and no play….” she knows that it is time to get Danny the hell out of there. But it seems that the Hotel won’t make that easy. Directed by the ghostly apparition of Grady, the former caretaker who chopped up his family, Jack heads out to correct his little problem. Here’s Johnny!!!!! Axe blows and one-liner fly as Jack chops his way towards the film’s chilling conclusion. Will the Overlook be checking in three new guests or will the maze be the place for ultimate checkout??? Rent this classic.
The Shining by Stephen King – the Book
The Shining, a look at the Stephen King masterpiece
I have always said one thing about The Shining: the book and the movie are both excellent, but they are not the same story. (Please note: when I am referring to the movie I am referring to the Stanley Kubrick version, not the TV mini-series.) OK, both have a hotel, and both have a man who goes stir crazy. Both have a psychic child and a woman whose spirit has been so beaten it has been shattered. But that’s really as far as the comparison goes
The Shining is one of Stephen King’s most popular writings. The one major difference between the book and the movie is the fact that in the book, the hotel itself is the main character and in the movie, it is not. Stephen King has this way about him when he writes that allows the reader to look and see what is going on, from the color of the rugs to the cobwebs in the corners; he made an inanimate object animated for the purposes of the mind. No matter how good special effects get, nothing can create an image the way Stephen King does.
OK, I’m blabbering. The story has a great plot. A family of three, the Torrances, is hired to be the winter caretakers of a majestic hotel. Sounds easy enough, however, the hotel happens to be at the top of a very large mountain in Colorado and once it snows the family will be confined to the hotel and its grounds due to the weather.
The major characters are equally great: Jack Torrance, the father, is a writer who can’t wait for the peace and quiet as well as the opportunity to start over. You see, he fucked up his life by hitting a student he found slashing his tires. Yes, Jack is prone to fits of violence. And if that isn’t bad enough, he’s a recovering alcoholic with writer’s block.
Wendy Torrance, the mother, is a basically good-hearted woman who yearns to have a great family and to keep it together. She is a worrier, but loyal to her husband. She’s pretty boring, as Stephen King’s characters go, but she serves a very important purpose at the end of the book, so don’t write her off too quickly.
Next, we have Danny Torrance. He’s a normal five-year-old boy. Well, if you consider precognition through an invisible friend and blackouts to be normal…
Last, but certainly not least, we have the hotel itself, The Overlook. Its past includes, but is not limited to suicides, orgies, and, yes, you guessed it! Murder! It is essentially a place where evil has thrived and therefore has seeped into the very foundation of the building.
There is quite a bit of foreshadowing in the beginning. Dick Hallorann, The Overlook’s cook, warns Danny about the Overlook and tells him about “The Shine”. He understands Danny’s psychic abilities. He tells him to shout with his mind if anything goes wrong. Also, Jack is warned of a previous winter caretaker who kills himself, having gone stir crazy.
And then there were three… the Torrances are all alone at the hotel. For a while, all is well. Jack is able to work and the family is patching up its problems. But the peace doesn’t last for long. Not only is Jack having full-length conversations with ghosts, but he himself is also becoming a ghost of his past self, the self he was trying to start over from. And strange things begin to happen.
A vacated wasps’ nest suddenly has inhabitants putting Danny in danger, topiary animals come alive, Danny has bruises on his neck after venturing into room 217, and the snowmobile and radio are no longer functional (for a reason unbeknownst to even himself, Jack has cut off all communication with the outside world). Jack and Wendy fight over unexplained incidents, as well as worry about Danny’s “hallucinations”. If that’s not enough, Jack becomes obsessed with the hotel’s past and takes in a little bit more of it every day.
Explosive reading! This is one of Stephen King’s best works! It incorporates everything: ghosts, alcoholism, psychics, and, of course, lots and lots of suspense!
How do the Torrences survive? Or do they? Silence from me…
The Shining Frightful Facts
- The Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood in Oregon was used for the exteriors, but all the interiors were shot at Elstree Studios outside of London. (2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars were also shot here) Both the Hotel interiors and the Maze were built on these soundstages.
- “The management of the Timberline Lodge requested that Kubrick not use room 217 (as specified in the book), fearing that nobody would want to stay in that room ever again. Kubrick changed the script to use the nonexistent room number 237”.
- “The book that Jack was writing contained the one sentence (“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”) repeated over and over. Kubrick had each page individually typed. For the Italian version of the film, Kubrick used the phrase “Il mattino ha l’ oro in bocca” (“He who wakes up early meets a golden day”).
- For the German version, it was “Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen” (“Don’t postpone something, that can be done today.”) For the Spanish version, it was “No por mucho madrugar amanece m?s temprano” (“Although one will rise early, it won’t dawn sooner.”)”
- Kubrick decided that having the hedge animals come alive was unworkable, so he opted for a maze instead.
- “Here’s Johnny!” was ad-libbed by Nicholson.
- “Danny can be seen wearing a sweater with a crude drawing of a rocket and the text “2001” on it: a reference to Kubrick’s ” 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).”
- This was the first movie to extensively exploit the Steadicam, a camera mounting system that enabled a single person to mount a 35mm camera on their shoulder.
- The budget for “The Shining” was $18 million and for the miniseries, it was $25 million.
- Stephen King originally wanted Mike Moriarty (It’s Alive III, Q, The Stuff) or Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) for the part of “Jack”.
- Kubrick toyed with the idea of killing off all the main characters and having them return as ghosts at the end. King talked him out of it.
- The shot was supposed to last 17 weeks. It ran from May 78-April 79.
- A Special Edition DVD (and hopefully LD) is out and includes a documentary on the “Making of the Shining” by Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian and a theatrical trailer. Unfortunately, it is not widescreen.
KING ON THE SHINING
“Stanley Kubrick’s version of THE SHINING is a lot tougher for me to evaluate [than CARRIE], because I’m still profoundly ambivalent about the whole thing. I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat.”
“Kubrick just could grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead of for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn’t believe, he couldn’t make the film believable to others…”
“The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror movie with no apparent understanding of the genre”.
“Everything about it screams that from the beginning to the end…”
Playboy, June 1983 Interview by Eric Norden
The Shining Movie versus the Miniseries
Let me begin by repeating “I am not a reader”. I wish I was, but it just doesn’t hold my interest for long enough. It’s a shame too because horror literature is probably the last scarcity vestige for originality in the genre. One final note before I move on, I am always looking for an avid reading mega horror babe who would read scary stories to me. Applicants apply within!!!!!
So this comparison will be solely based on my interpretation of the original film and the recent television miniseries. It will no, in any way be limited by my lack of reading aptitude. But as to not to forget the novel, the Mistress of the Tomes will provide in glorious details her interpretation of this Stephen King masterpiece. Check it out here!!!!!!
Here at our secret labs in the “House of Horrors”, we were cooking as we tested and re-tested our findings. We spent many hours running hypothesis through our mega computer known as “Igor” (well that’s not really his name, but he likes it).
And when the final results were in, we burned them and decided to just re-watch the films and make our own decisions. The following comparison is in no way based on any scientific formula, rhythm or reason, but just good old-fashioned fear. The verdict is in, you be the judge.
Here is one of the few areas where the miniseries might have the edge over the film. I guess we seem to forget that this is a “haunted house” or rather a “haunted hotel ” film. The Overlook is a main character in the film, but more so in the mini-series.
VERDICT: The Overlook
Jack Torrance Character
Here’s Johnny. Jack Nicholson was, is, and will always be “The Shining” to me.
His performance, which Stephen King has described as “over-the-top”, was the driving force in the success of this film and its placement in The Vault. This is not to take away from Steven Weber’s performance (which was pretty good), but he is no Jack Nicholson.
VERDICT: Jack all the way!!!!
The Maze vs. The Hedge Animals
Everyone who was a fan of the book had told me time and time again that the hedge animals would have been a great addition to the original film (Kubrick didn’t use them for technical reasons). So I was really psyched to hear they would be used in the miniseries. Too bad they weren’t that great. I love the use of the Maze (it was more animated than the hedge animals) in the ending of the film.
VERDICT: Get the hedge clippers out
This is a tough one. Both actors had very minimal screen time. While Scatman dies
in the film, Melvin lives in the miniseries. I personally would have liked to see the Dick Halloran character used more in the story.
Wow! I think Rebecca De Mornay is so hot. But her characterization of Wendy was way too strong. She (as Wendy) would have never put up with all of Jack’s bullshit. I prefer the timid Wendy of Shelley Duvall. The one with the weak baseball bat swing that sent Jack tumbling down.
To think, Danny Lloyd was only seven years old when he made “The Shining”. I really liked the way he performed the voice of Tony as opposed to the use of an actor in the miniseries. Courtland Mead?? Can you say overacting?
VERDICT: Will the real Danny stand up?
VERDICT: Olive Oly
The lady in the room
What’s lurkers up in Room.. ? The reason for the difference in room number between the series and the miniseries is that the Hotel used for the exterior shots in the film asked director Kubrick not to use 217, because guest might not want to stay there afterward. So he used a fictional 237. I found the old women (in the film) to be more scary and effective.
VERDICT: The Old Hag
The Shining – Fan Talk
The Shining: a nightmarish masterpiece
When I first started watching horror films, the slasher genre was in my face every time I went to the video store. They were what was hot at the time. When my interest grew and I developed a taste for well-made genre films, I began turning backward in time for the modern classics.
I then discovered The Shining amongst the group. It wasn’t until many years later that I would grow fond of horror literature, namely Stephen King literature. So I cannot and never will side with the many King fans who lambasted Kubrick’s vision of the film because I saw the film first. So maybe my opinion is a little biased, to say the least.
But it also gives me an advantage over those millions of King fans, because I can appreciate the film for standing on its own merits. We’re not comparing two separate films, we’re talking about two entirely different mediums here. Yes, the book was brilliant, the most terrifying of its kind as is the film version of it’s medium.
So if you’re a serious horror fan, you can’t deny the power of the movie. The television miniseries succeeded in faithfully adapting the novel, but failed miserably when compared to the power of the 1980 product. The first time I viewed Kubrick’s masterpiece, I had nightmares for weeks. From then on, I would only screen it with friends that I dared to watch it.
Sound, camera movement, performances, script, lighting, music…..all hauntingly brilliant. All those qualities can be referenced to with one single scene. When Danny rides his big wheel around the corner of one of the hotels long eerie hallways and comes face to face with a ghostly vision of two little girls staring at him, that single image was stamped into my mind, and the film earned its’ place in the house of horrors.
Quite likely the greatest horror movie (my opinion), this film had it all. An awesome director, an awesome actor, an awesome story and probably the best cinematography a horror movie has ever had. It is a classic for the ages, and without a doubt kicks the miniseries’ ass.
Mike Mandeville, MikeFBI@concentric.net
Finally, The Shining has been put in your vault! This is the first film I ever saw that truly terrified me. The atmosphere is nothing less than perfect, ie..hotel in the middle of nowhere, blizzard, ghosts, and a maniac with a bad case of cabin fever!
And the music, who can forget that! With the sounds of howling ghosts in the background, and then at times sounds of absolutely nothing. You never know when something is going to happen. For instance, one minute you’re following a kid on his big wheel tricycle, and the next minute, without warning, you’re staring eye to eye with two twins that turn into mutilated bodies.
When I first watched this film, I began watching it with the lights off…but that didn’t last for long! As soon as that lady in the tub turned ugly and started laughing…HELLO!
This movie will go down in history, right up there with The Exorcist, The Evil Dead, and Dawn of the Dead. And in my opinion, the miniseries was good, but the feature film is what will turn my dreams into nightmares for years to come.
I love the film “THE SHINING” there are not enough words to explain how I feel about it. Although many people leave Shelley Duvall in the shadow of Jack I think she played Wendy than Jack played Jack Torrance. It any of you out there have a site which contains THE SHINING or a site which contains SHELLEY DUVALL please email me.
And if you have a fan mail address to Shelley or Jack do the same. THANK YOU, Shelley, Jack, Danny, Stanley, Steven, and the rest who contributed to The Shining.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? This movie definitely left its mark on me at an early age. I first saw it when it was released to either showtime or the movie channel, probably around ’81, when I was around 8 or 9 years old. Definitely the scariest movie I remember from childhood.
The eerie twin girl ghosts, the blood coming out of the elevator, Jack….well, Jack being Jack, scary as hell. The scene that really screwed my pre-adolescent brain up for life, though, was the infamous bathtub scene. I’ve given this some thought in later years, and I think I know why.
At that age, nudity of any kind in any movie was a gotta-see for us dirty little kids with equally dirty-minded older brothers. We really couldn’t know why this stuff excited us at that age, it was just supposed to, and it did.
I watched The Shining one Saturday afternoon at my friend Jeff’s house while his parents were off somewhere (how many of us got to see the really scary movies so young without pulling stuff like this? not many), and when the “naked chick” appeared, there was an almost audible unspoken “YESSSSS!!!” that passed between us.
However, of course, this pleasure turned to sheer horror faster than Kubrick could snicker. I haven’t seen many scenes in horror movies since that pulled the rug out from under me and stuck an icepick in my heart as effectively as this one did.
Well, I’ve rambled enough, Pleasant dreams…..
Mike DeWire, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have seen most of the Shining and I saw the whole thing about The Shining mini-series. All I can say is hands down the movie is better. I have met only one person who disagrees with me. By the way…cool site.
The Shining Movie Details
- Produced by: Warner Bros. [us] / Peregrine / Hawk Films
- Certification: UK:18 / USA:R / Finland:K-18 / Germany:16 / Norway:18 / Sweden:15
- Language: English
- Runtime: UK:119 (short version) / UK:146 (original release) / USA:146
- Sound Mix: Mono
- Distributed by: Warner Bros. [us] (USA)
- Also Known As Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (1980)
- Directed by Stanley Kubrick
- Written by Diane Johnson, Stephen King (novel) , Stanley Kubrick
- Cinematography by John Alcott
- Original music by Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind
- Production Design by Roy Walker
- Additional music by B�la Bart�k
- Gy�rgy Ligeti Krzysztof Penderecki
- Costume Design by Milena Canonero
- Film Editing by Ray Lovejoy
- Produced by Jan Harlan (executive), Stanley Kubrick
the Shining Cast (in credits order)
- Jack Nicholson …. Jack Torrance
- Shelley Duvall …. Wendy Torrance
- Danny Lloyd …. Danny Torrance
- Scatman Crothers …. Dick Hallorann
- Barry Nelson …. Stuart Ullman
- Philip Stone …. Delbert Grady
- Joe Turkel …. Lloyd
- Anne Jackson …. Doctor
- Tony Burton …. Larry Durkin
- Lia Beldam …. Young Woman in Bath
- Billie Gibson …. Old Woman in Bath
- Barry Dennen …. Watson
- David Baxt …. Forest Ranger 1
- Manning Redwood …. Forest Ranger 2
- Lisa Burns …. Grady Daughter
- Louise Burns …. Grady Daughter
- Robin Pappas …. Nurse
- Alison Coleridge …. Ullman’s Secretary
- Burnell Tucker …. Policeman
- Jana Sheldon …. Stewardess
- Kate Phelps …. Receptionist
- Norman Gay …. Injured Guest with Head Wound
- Garrett Brown …. steadicam operator
- Ted Churchill …. steadicam operator
- Brian Cook …. assistant director
- Tessa Davies …. set dresser
- James Devis …. camera operator
- Dino Di Campo …. sound effects editor
- Andros Epaminondas …. assistant to producer
- Jim Freeman …. helicopter photography
- Jo Gregory …. production accountant
- Paul Kenward …. assistant camera
- Jack T. Knight …. sound effects editor
- Leonard …. hair stylist
- Greg MacGillivray …. helicopter photography
- Douglas Milsome …. additional photographer
- Terry Needham …. assistant director
- Kelvin Pike …. camera operator
- June Randall …. continuity
- Wyn Ryder …. sound effects editor
- Tom Smith …. make-up artist
- Michael Stevenson …. assistant director
- Leslie Tomkins …. art director
- Douglas Twiddy …. production manager
- Leon Vitali …. personal assistant to the director